I'm a 33 year old Mum of 2 kids (my ferals who are 4 and 5 years old) who lives with major depression, recurring suicidal thoughts and an autoimmune disease (Psoriatic Arthritis).
Hubby and I own 5 acres of wandoo bush in Western Australia which we call "The Block". He says it is cursed (stinking hot, bushfire prone ground as hard as rock) but for me my garden is my escape.
But for now I’ll drive past the blue tree and let it remind me…
That I matter to people who love me no matter what my depression tells me.
That as insignificant as I feel my support, encouragement, words or shared experiences are important. If me being open about my mental illness encourages anyone (perhaps even my children) to speak up and ask for help then that means a successful life to me.
Has anyone else seen a Blue Tree in their area? Feel free to add a link to your blog and photo in the comments, I’d love to see the photos.
Woohoo! It is Blood Lilly time again here in Western Australia.
The bright red is a bit of light in my day. Even the black dog can’t ignore how happy and beautiful they are.
It isn’t just the pretty things that help remind us to keep trying either. How about a challenge? Something to keep you distracted and busy and break into those unhelpful thoughts… Plant identification.
Can anyone help? This one isn’t something I’m familiar with. Perhaps a Barleria?
Then there are the things that make you laugh. A friend once told me that in deepest despair and the depths of depression something made him laugh. It was a massive discovery. To be capable of laughter is a sign hope exists.
This discovery cracked me up…
Nothing says Australian like an old Ute carrying steel kangaroos complete with cutout weapons and topped off with our beloved flag. Perfect!
And finally a little closer to my heart were these
Drawings for Mother’s Day which remind me I am needed and cared for. Don’t you just love the gigantic lips 😂!?
Joy and love and laughter and beauty. Things that make life well worth wading through the dark times for.
Ten years ago, with a little bundle of black and tan fluff at my feet, I read a poem called ‘Lend me a Pup’. It spoke of God gifting us with a journey with a dog and letting them go when it is time.
I cried reading it, not truly understanding.
Today it was Szarik’s time. We have been blessed with ten years of joy and love and chaos and loyalty.
As a self confessed cat person I never wanted a dog. Until the moment I saw a little German Shepherd pup playing hide and seek under a shrub. That was the day Szarik joined our family.
When grief and sadness feels overwhelming I go to a safe place. For me this is the garden. It is a space where I can sow specific happy memories. Not just for those who are gone now but for the living too.
For my Grandma I plant all things red which is a colour that reminds me of her.
Red curtains. Red Robin on her tea cup. Whenever a Red Robin appears in my garden it feels like a reminder of her love.
Nan is perennial Stattice. It has always grown around the farmhouse and she loves it. Tough as nails just like the woman I admire, it thrives in the heat here and gives us masses of purple flowers.
Today I stood beside the garden arch in what will be Szarik’s garden.
Passionfruit and Jasmine are planted ready to share the arch. Elderflower is starting to flower nearby too.
But that isn’t him.
Eventually I chose a memory that lets me remember him without feeling sad. We had a peach tree once under planted with blue Muscari bulbs.
It was a mystery why it kept shrinking. Until one day we saw a certain puppy break off a piece and drag it away to chew up. He loved the taste of fruit tree wood. Especially peaches. At times he would eat grapes off the vines too and tomatoes if the gate to the veggie patch was left open. That is how I want to remember him most of all. Cheeky and adventurous and always happy to share whatever food was on offer (even cucumber).
The gentle guardian who was endlessly patient for our kids because they would sneak him snacks and who always sat with me in low times even when the bickies and tea were finished.
One day this will be an orchard. With a blue Muscari carpet.
Even when you are in the grip of depression, there can be moments of light.
These are the moments I cling to, cherish and want to share with the world.
To remind myself and perhaps even one person reading that living is worth the effort.
Recently driving home from work I stopped to investigate a curious object on the road…
A Thorny Devil!
Thankful for the gloves in my work bag, I scooped him (or her) up from the road where sunbaking was going to mean being squished for sure and moved to a safer spot.
Although native to Australia and apparently plentiful, I have only seen a Thorny Devil once before in my life… Behind glass in captivity. This meeting was a pleasure and blessing.
I took photos and videos to share with my children. Miss 4 decided this gentle lizard would be christened “Super Hero Lizard” because in her mind the vibrant camouflage colouring was a costume. In this moment her enthusiasm and joy was infectious and I basked in it.
So to anyone reading I would like to offer you a thought.
When depression has you gripped tight and you can’t seem to think of a reason to want to live perhaps you can borrow my reason…
Because there will always be moments that you will not want to have missed.
It doesn’t matter if the moment is huge and momentous or something smaller like simply rescuing a lizard and feeling happy.
What is important is the knowledge that even if the black dog is telling you it is hopeless and pointless to live that is a lie.
Tomorrow you could feel joy for a moment. That is worth living for.
Yesterday brought with it two surprises and my black dog (depression).
Returning from work hubby led me blindfolded down the driveway to our new home.
My heart raced. I froze and just stared. He had taken the dream in my head and made a start on bringing it to life.
I was blissfully happy.
Then our five year old son got home and told us about his bus ride.
A crescent shaped cut in his ear. A fingernail. He reluctantly told us about being slapped, bitten and scratched by older kids.
He is five years old! Our kids are the only littlies on this private bus to a school which prides itself on virtues. And not one of the young adults said a word or stepped in or even alerted the driver.
My heart broke the moment he defended the teens. “It’s ok Mum maybe tomorrow they will be my friends again”.
How do you feel hope for the future when you have to destroy a child’s naievity to keep him safe?
The black dog has set up it’s kennel in my mind and in my head it is red.